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How to Wheelie on a Mountain Bike

How to do a Pedal-Punch Wheel Lift

Learning how to wheelie isn't just a cool trick - it's a useful skill. Using a pedal punch wheel lift can help you get over obstacles while climbing a technical trail. Learn how! 

  1. Find a gradual uphill parking lot or fire road to practice. A pedal punch/wheelie is most useful on uphill climbs. It is also easier to maintain a wheelie on a gradual uphill slope because you will not run out of gears.
  2. Select a gear. If your gear is too easy, you’ll be able to get your front wheel up, but you won’t be able to maintain it. If your gear is too hard, it will more difficult to get your front wheel to the balance point.
  3. Stay seated. Practice wheelies while in the saddle. You may want to drop your saddle height slightly to make the wheelie easier to maintain.
  4. Pause your pedal stroke at 12 o’clock. Take a pedal stroke and pause your leading foot at the top of the stroke, or backpedal your leading foot to find this position. This is your “power” position.
  5. Punch your leading pedal down and shift your weight back. Punching your pedal down will create the momentum needed to lift your wheel, then lift your chest back to unweight the front wheel. This movement will allow your front wheel to rise into the air.
  6. For a wheelie, continue to pedal with your chest up. Do not pull the front wheel into you by bending your arms. Keeping your arms straight will help you maintain a straight line. If your goal is to lift your front wheel over an obstacle, move your body weight forward over the front wheel and stand to allow your rear wheel to follow over the obstacle.

Safety Tips |

  • Use flat pedals, for a quick dismount.
  • Keep a finger on the rear brake, and squeeze it if you feel like you are going back too far past your balance point.

Use the pedal punch wheel lift to get over roots or up onto rocks during a climb.

Looking to take your mountain biking skills to the next level? Here’s the deal:

The best and quickest way to improve your mountain biking skills is to take a skills clinic with a professional mountain bike instructor. If you’re unsure of your skill level, reaching out to a mountain bike coach in your area is a great place to start. Mountain biking is a dynamic sport – there are many different ways to approach a feature and we may not have covered all of those different ways in this tutorial. Always ride within your limits and do not attempt risky maneuvers when riding alone. Mountain biking is awesome, but does come with inherent risks – be safe, be smart and have fun!